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Mark Shapiro says Chuck Finley is not on the trade block. TribeScribe says, “Why the hell not?” Seriously, Shapiro has to say that he is not shopping Finley if he hopes to receive anything of value in return. With a strike looming and the Indians playoff hopes soon to be exposed as wishful thinking, the time to strike a deal is now. However, the likely trade partners are dwindling.

Jim Bowden can’t take on payroll, so a deal with Cincinnati will require the Indians to eat a portion of Finley’s remaining salary. Houston lost Shane Reynolds for the season, but their problems in one-run games continue to keep them out of contention. Minnesota and Chicago have the prospects to deal, but trading Finley within the division would be unpopular. The best chance of a deal lies with Seattle, whose rotation gets very shallow after Garcia and Moyer. With the division race tightening up, Lou Piniella is not likely to pin the M’s chances on youngsters Rafael Soriano and Joel Pineiro although both have pitched well of late.


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